Our ‘primary’ responsibility

An Iowa Catholic who should know better told his spouse, “I don’t get too excited about the Iowa primaries.” All of us should get excited about the primary election (June 5), whether or not the candidates we support are in contested races. Participation in the primary election is part of faithful citizenship!

“Since they have an active role to play in the whole life of the Church, laymen are not only bound to penetrate the world with a Christian spirit, but are also called to be witnesses to Christ in all things in the midst of human society” (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, no. 43).  The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life.”

The primary election serves as a winnowing process of sorts whereby voters select candidates to advance to the general election ballot in November. These are the leaders whose public policy decisions will impact our lives at home, in the workplace, in the public square, in our schools, hospitals, on our roadways and across our rivers and streams.

Let’s not lose sight of the fact that we elect leaders to advocate and work for the common good, and not what’s best for each of us as individuals. Our “me-first” attitude will never thaw the polar attitude that permeates our state and national government.

A few facts about Iowa’s primary election: Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, will advance to the general election ballot because she is unchallenged in the primary. Democrats have five candidates to choose from: Cathy Glasson, Fred Hubbell, Andy McGuire, John Norris and Ross Wilburn. Libertarians have two candidates: Marco Battaglia and Jake Porter.

Other contested races in the Iowa primary election include Secretary of Agriculture and Secretary of State and, within the Diocese of Davenport, some state representative and state senate seats and county board of supervisor seats. Visit the Iowa Secretary of State website at https://tinyurl.com/ydayqang to read the candidate list.

Because Iowa has a closed primary election, voters must be registered with the Democratic, Republican or Libertarian Party to participate. Voters may change party affiliation at their polling place on election day or any time before then. Poll workers will ask voters to provide one of these forms of ID: Iowa driver’s license, Iowa non-operator ID card, U.S. passport, U.S. military ID, U.S. veteran ID, or the Iowa Voter ID PIN card (a form of ID provided at no cost to those without a driver’s license or non-operator ID). Eligible voters must be U.S. citizens, residents of Iowa and at least 18 years old on election day.

Registered voters have options for casting votes: Go to the polls (between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 5); vote early by absentee ballot in the county auditor’s office (June 4 is the last day); submit an absentee ballot by mail (postmarked by June 4).

The Iowa Secretary of State’s website provides additional information about the voting process: how to find your polling place, request an absentee ballot; track your absentee ballot, view the primary candidates’ list, procedures for military voters and for overseas civilian voters.

Our “primary” responsibility as faithful citizens is to vote, and to do so by considering every issue and candidate through the lens of God’s Word.  To learn where candidates stand on issues impacting the common good, such as the dignity of every human person, health care, education, jobs and the environment, visit the website ontheissues.org or do an internet search of the candidate’s name.

As we pray and reflect on our decisions in the June 5 Iowa primary election, we keep in mind the principles of Catholic social teaching. These encompass the dignity of the human person, subsidiarity and solidarity, freedom, participation, the common good and care for the most vulnerable among us. If we do that, we will be excited to participate in the Iowa primary election.

Barb Arland-Fye, Editor

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